Gilead will charge up to $3,120 per treatment course of remdesivir, which has shown modest benefits in some patients.
After weeks of donating the antiviral drug remdesivir to hospitals with severely ill patients, the drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences, announced today that it has settled on a price — $390 per vial, which works out to $2,340 per treatment course.
Gilead also said it would charge more to private insurers in the United States: $520 per vial, or $3,120 for a treatment course. Uninsured patients also would be charged that price.
Until recently, remdesivir was the only drug shown to help severely ill Covid-19 patients, but the benefits were modest, and the drug did not improve survival in those patients.
The company said this price, which it will charge in all developed nations, is far below the drug’s value. A large federal study found that remdesivir shortened recovery time in severely ill patients by four days on average. Four days in the hospital would cost about $12,000 per patient, Gilead’s chief executive, Daniel O’Day, said in a statement on Monday.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit group that calculates fair prices for drugs, estimated that Gilead would need to charge $1,600 per regimen to recoup its costs, but that as much as $5,080 per treatment course would be still be cost-effective, given that patients would be able to leave the hospital sooner.
Critics have long accused Gilead of overcharging for groundbreaking drugs, including Harvoni, a hepatitis C treatment that lists for as much as $100,000. In a statement on Monday, I.C.E.R. warned, “Gilead has the power to price remdesivir at will in the U.S., and no governmental or private insurer could even entertain the idea of walking away from the negotiating table.”
But since many Wall Street analysts were expecting the drug to cost about $5,000 for a course of treatment, the lower price “can be viewed as a responsible decision from Gilead,” I.C.E.R. added.
The Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday that the Trump administration had struck “an amazing deal” with Gilead. The company would supply 500,000 treatment courses (not vials, as an earlier post said) of the drug through September. Hospitals would pay the wholesale price of $520 per vial.
Gilead’s last shipment of 120,000 treatment courses of donated drug is going out today.